Transcribed by Anne (Bowden) Allen from Henry Buxton’s column for the Bangor Daily News.
Feb. 22, 1937
HEARTH BRICKS FROM GREAT GRANDMOTHER’S HOME
Mr. Brooks drew contentedly on a well-seasoned corncob pipe as we chatted beside a blazing hearth in the spacious living room of his comfortable Brewer home. Pointing to the hearth bricks, he told me that he dug them out of the cellar hole of his great grandmother’s home at Castine. British officers were quartered in this ancient house during the War of 1812, and one of them, an artist, was so intrigued by the beauty of Mr. Brooks’ great grandmother that he spent weeks painting her portrait. This portrait is still in the possession of the Brooks family.
“I dug those bricks out of the old cellar hole in Castine,” he said, “because I thought that it would be pleasant over the years to toast my feet over my great grandmother’s hearth bricks.”
This genial and cultured potter, brickmaker and anthropologist is one of the most entertaining raconteurs I have heard in many a long day, and to listen to him was akin to perusing the pages of a fascinating book. He spun me a tale of Brookses past and present that not only was livened by the tang of adventure and the sparkle of wit, but contained here and there a touch of pathos.
“My great grandfather, George Brooks”, he said, “was born in Bradford, England, and at the age of 17 left for Newfoundland to engage in the fishing trade. The following summer he entered the whaling business with a certain Captain Doan of Cape Cod, and there on Cape Cod in 1775 he met Mrs. Mary Atwood Thompson, the charming widowed sister of Captain Doan. They were married after an ardent and romantic courtship, and the following year migrated with a party of Cape Coders to Orrington.
“My great grandfather took up a wooded grant of 200 acres, built a log house, and cleared 50 acres. His cabin was located near the dwelling of James Gorton, a squatter, and later he purchased this squatter’s rights.”